Clive Punter: My Life In Media

Clive Punter, 38, is chief operating officer of Viacom Outdoor Europe, the transport media sales company that covers many of Europe's billboards, buses, trains and coaches with adverts. An avid skier, he is married to Georgina and has two sons. The family starred in BBC3's Who Rules the Roost? last October, where the couple reversed roles.
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The Independent Online

What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I had this fixed idea that I'd enter the pin-stripe-and-braces world of City trading à la Gordon Gekko, but settled for ad sales on the Daily Mail as the next best thing.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

I don't believe in destiny but ... I read the Daily Mail. It's a habit that was passed down through generations of Punters. My parents read it and their parents did. Little did I know I would work for the paper for 10 years.

And what were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I revelled in the quirky world of 1970s Saturday night entertainment; Les Dawson and Dick Emery and later the busty, splashy rescues on Baywatch. The Sunday night charts on BBC radio were a ritual for me. Armed with my tape recorder I'd attempt to catch my favourite tunes. In the context of today's illegal download craze, this seems a rather innocent pastime.

Describe your job

Maximising revenue for Viacom Outdoor across Europe by developing customer relationships and by developing people.

What media do you turn to in the morning?

Weekday mornings it's radio (2-Ten FM) in the car and then it's the posters at Newbury train station or the airport signs at Heathrow, which fill my waiting time. My job makes poster spotting an inevitable obsession.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

The internet for reference and analysis; Rupert Murdoch is rightly worried about its impact on papers. I check FT.com, Comdirect and Fidelity.

What is the best thing about your job?

There is something about advertising on posters; captivating millions of people on the move across Europe, whether it's on the way to work or travelling for pleasure. It's an enormously powerful thing to be involved in. Working with great people is a real pleasure too.

And the worst?

In my line of work: flight delays. Such a waste of precious time.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

Delivering double-digit top line growth in Viacom Outdoor UK for the past 10 years.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Turning up an hour late for my interview at Viacom Outdoor (then TDI), hot and frantic after a series of disasters. God knows how I got the job.

At home, what do you tune in to?

The Apprentice was brilliant; the only worthwhile adult viewing recently. At home the children take priority with Nick Junior and CBeebies. It's fantastic they've brought back Mr Benn, The Clangers and Bagpuss!

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

Sunday Times Business, Motors, Home, and Money sections are a must when I have time. I read the media trade press - Campaign, Marketing, Media Week, M&M Europe, Marketing Week - essential to keep up with the latest scandal and gossip.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

Doing a spell in New York - the media scene out there is full of opportunities. But not until the kids are a little older.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

Possibly try my luck on the entertainment side of the business or spend more time with my wife and two energetic boys!

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

People who have made big money and therefore don't need to do the gig but do it because they simply love it!

The CV

1983: Leaves school aged 16, moving to college.

1986: Joins the Daily Mail to work in telesales.

1988: He is promoted to sales executive.

1991: Becomes sales manager.

1995: Joins TDI as sales manager. (TDI becomes Viacom Outdoor in 2001.)

1998: Appointed sales director. In 2001 he becomes managing director.

2004: Still managing director of UK business, he is appointed director of international sales.

2005: In January he is promoted from managing director of sales and marketing to chief operating officer for Europe.

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